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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

Governments to Moscow. The Poles were invited to commence their
talks with a Marshal Zshukov> the Commander of the First White
Russian front; who was to act as the Soviet's representative. The aim of
these parleys was defined in a letter from the Russians to the Polish Vice-
Premier Jankowski and to General Okulicki^ Commander of the now dis-
banded Home Army., in order to " cleanse the atmosphere and to facilitate
the emergence of the parties from the Underground and to merge them
with other democratic forces in an independent Poland." Colonel
PimenoV of the N.K.V.D.5 who acted as an intermediary, assured the
Polish leaders of safe conduct, giving his word of honour on behalf of his
superiors. At the first meeting on March 17 between he and the
Government's Delegate, Jankowski,, the latter stated that restoration
of normal conditions in Poland depended entirely upon the Soviets and
asked for an authoritative explanation before he commenced the
parleys., as to the existence of the * Lublin Government/ and the position
held by the Commander of the First White Russian front> also as to
' why the Soviets had sent an officer of low .rank ' as the Commander-in-
Chief's representative to conduct these talks. Furthermore, he wished
to be informed as to whether Marshal Zshukov was acting with the
knowledge of the Allied Commission in Moscow, or only on behalf of
MolotoVj the Commissar of Foreign Affairs. At the same time Jankowski
asked that facilities be granted him to contact his Government in London
personally. On March 185 Colonel Piinenov conferred with the leaders
of the Polish Peasants' Party and with the National Democratic and Labour
Party two days later. During this second talk, he categorically stated that
the Lublin Government would have to obey the orders and decisions
of the Commander of the First White Russian fronts in whom was in-
Vested complete powers of negotiation.
On March 20, Vice-Premier Jankowski received an answer from
Marshal Zshukov that he would be coming to negotiate with the Under-
ground3 and that he was authorised to do so by the Headquarters of the
Red Army with the agreement of Marshal Stalin. He added that he was
eager to settle the affair as soon as possible. A plane capable of carrying
twenty persons was to be placed at the disposal of the Poles on March 27.
All these pourparleys, however^ were simply a trap. When the members
of the Home Cabinet and ten leaders of various political parties^ in-
cluding General Okulicki and interpreter^ arrived at the appointed meeting
place at Pruszkov^ a suburb of Warsaw on March 27 and 28, they dis-
appeared . . . They were conveyed by plane to Moscow and shut in the
Lubianka prison . . .
The kidnapped men were:óJan Jankowski, Deputy Premier and Govern-
ment Delegate in Poland. He had been appointed as Under Secretary of
State and Minister of Labour several times, and was a representative of
the Labour Party. His predecessor. Dr. Jan Piekalkiewicz, of the Polish
Peasant Party, was arrested by the Germans in 19433 and killed in prison.
463